Sometimes it helps having someone else assist with the dispute. You and the other party can hire a mediator or arbitrator to help resolve your dispute. You may wish to hire a lawyer to negotiate on your behalf, prepare demand letters, give you legal advice or represent you at court.
Legal Education & Guidance
One of the best ways to feel more in control of your legal case is to educate yourself as much as possible about the law and procedure. There are many public legal education and information resources to help you better move your case through the legal system. See Get Help and Learn More at the bottom of the page for a list of resources.
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Mediation is where a third party helps others reach agreement. Mediators seek to build consensus between both parties so that a mutual agreement can be reached. Mediation is less formal and can be a more productive process to solve the dispute when compared to a trial. Professional mediators are trained to help people resolve disputes and they bring a range of skills to negotiations and discussions. The mediator’s role is not to take sides or to decide the case, but rather, to help both parties find an agreement to resolve the dispute.
Mediation is particularly helpful when both parties have an ongoing relationship with each other. Where court cases create bitterness, mediation builds bridges of understanding.
- Think about what you want, what is important to you and what you may be willing to compromise about
- Do your research and understand the strength of your case and the strength of the other party’s case
- Think about the best and most realistic outcome that could result from the mediation for both you and the other party
- Bring your original documents, invoices, witness statements, and/or photographs to the mediation as well as copies for the mediator and other parties
Arbitration is a settlement option where you and the other parties in dispute select an arbitrator, who acts essentially as a private judge. You will then submit your information to receive a decision. The arbitrator is impartial and may be trained in the law, or have other expertise relevant to the dispute. You may need to cover the cost of the arbitrator or if the other party agrees you can split the cost.
Get Legal Advice
You may wish to talk to a lawyer about your case early on. You can hire a lawyer for a couple hours to look over your case with you. They can give their opinion on what the strengths and weaknesses are. They can tell you what you’ll need to prove and what type of evidence you’ll need to prove it. They can also tell you what types of remedies you may get. Even if you don’t make it to trial, this information is very helpful in working out a solution. Remember: In Small Claims Court you cannot get the other side to pay for your lawyer fees, even if you win.